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Making Movies with your Mac

My MacBook Pro came with an imbedded iSight camera, but you can buy external cameras very inexpensively. Apple's external iSight is only $149.00 at their store.

Once you have a camera, you need software to record with it. I downloaded the free QuickTime Broadcaster from Apple. That's really oriented toward live broadcasting from your computer, but it has a "Record to Disk" mode that creates QuickTime movie files.

I'm no expert at video (and no actor either), but as you can see, this wasn't hard to do:

(If you can't see the embedded movie above, try http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-552421969143473632).

In QuickTime broadcaster, I set the Network Transmission to Manual Unicast and the IP to Under the Audio tab, I selected my USB Microphone and set the Gain to 100. I unchecked "Play through Speaker" to avoid feedback hum. Under Video, I chose the MPEG-4 Video compressor, set to 12 frames per second and a key frame every 100 frames. I unchecked the "Limit Data Rate" box. I was now ready to record after checking the "Record to disk" option.

Click "Broadcast" to start, "Stop" when done. Your movie will be in your Movies folder and named mymove.mov (mymovie2.mov, etc.).

The sound quality obviously isn't the greatest, and I look very inanimate. I'm sure you can do a far better job. I did this in short clips that I then imported into iMovie HD for final editing. iMovie HD is very easy to use (though I'm sure someone with more skill could improve this much more than I could).

Conclusion: making movies on your iSight equipped Mac is very easy. Try it!

I later found that I just needed to boost the Input and Output Volume for the "Line In" under System Preferences, Sound.

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© Anthony Lawrence

Wed Aug 2 18:10:45 2006: 2352   bruceg2004

I am slowly becoming addicted to movie making, and movie editing on the Mac. I have graduated from iMovie to Final Cut Express, and I also have the Final Cut Pro studio (I got it fairly cheap on ebay, and then sent the DVD's into Apple for the $49 Universal Binary crossgrade, for when I get an intel Mac)

All I can say is that if you plan on doing video editing, get as much RAM, HD space, and processor speed as you can, because any machine will seem slow when doing video. The file sizes are enormous, and you can never seem to have a fast enough machine when it comes time to render.

I have a savings account for when the Mac Pro's ship. With the Core 2 Duo, they should be real fast, compared to my 2.1Ghz G5 iMac. They are expensive machines, though. I may end up getting an Intel based iMac. Hopefully Apple will give them a processor boost with the new chips coming out. I just wish the iMac had a FW 800 port, since I have 3, 300GB FW800 capable external HD's. With video, you need it.

My family wonders why I spend so much time editing video on the computer, and now I reply, asking them to contribute to my Mac Pro fund. :-) I really hope I can get a refurb one from Apple. There is no way I will be able to pay full price for a new one, *and* purchase a monitor. I wish my iMac had video in..

- Bruce

Wed Aug 2 19:17:07 2006: 2353   TonyLawrence

It took 4 or 5 minutes to output this little movie..

Mon Aug 7 14:17:38 2006: 2370   bruceg2004

Sure, because it is simple. The simple stuff is no problem. It gets more complicated, and much more time consuming when you need to add effects, motion menus, and of course the length of the movie has a lot to do with the speed.

If you are going to shoot, and post without editing, that will be nice and quick to work with. But, if you do any kind of editing, and need to cut/copy/paste different scenes into the movie, it starts to get more complicated, and memory and disk intensive.

There is a nice website for editing via the web, which is great for short movies:


If you have a short movie, give eyespot a whirl for some simple editing. For people with video enabled cell phones, or who take short videos with their digital camera, this website is great for simple editing.

For more detailed editing, and special effects, you are going to need a monster of a computer, with some fast hard drives, and lots of RAM. I am just beginning this journey, and I really enjoy it. I just don't like waiting for things to render when I add effects, or need to import a 2GB file of DV footage that I need to edit. It is also very time consuming importing from my DV camera, and that is going to change, because the next generation DV cameras are coming with built in HD's. 30GB seems to be the size currently, which is a lot of data to move, and work with on a system. I typically work with files around 20GB in size, and when I am done, they can be up to 150 - 200GB. Then, I need to compress them down, so they will fit on a Dual Layer DVD. I end up with a lot more edits, and end up making two DVD's, so the final size is around 15-16GB.

- Bruce

Mon Aug 7 14:21:48 2006: 2371   TonyLawrence

Yes, that's what I meant: even that very simple, very short video took almost five minutes to output. Anything complicated could be very painful.

How would you contrast eyespot with iMovie ?

Mon Aug 7 14:39:38 2006: 2372   BigDumbDinosaur

Hey, Tony, at least you could have combed your hair before rolling the camera. <Grin> Now, I wouldn't have had that problem...

Mon Aug 7 14:59:28 2006: 2373   TonyLawrence

I don't own a comb.


Mon Aug 7 21:20:44 2006: 2374   BigDumbDinosaur

...and I don't own any hair. Wanna trade?

Mon Aug 7 21:36:50 2006: 2375   TonyLawrence

They say that people with higher testosterone levels are the ones who lose their hair.

Wanna trade?

Fri Aug 11 16:35:44 2006: 2387   BigDumbDInosaur

They say that people with higher testosterone levels are the ones who lose their hair.

That surely couldn't be me. I'm bald because of all those years spent hunched over a computer keyboard scratching my head while trying to make the damned thing work.

Wanna trade?

Sure. I'll trade you our crooked politicians for your crooked politicians. That's gotta be worth more than some strange chemical that seems to always be getting guys into trouble. Take Ted Kennedy for example...

Fri Aug 11 16:38:07 2006: 2388   TonyLawrence

We LIKE our Kennedy's. They are fun to watch.

Tue Aug 22 19:51:50 2006: 2427   anonymous

Yea, I like Teddy. He is my kind of liberal. He also acts in bipartisan ways, which is something rare in the Bush Administration.

Anyway, I wanted to add this little bit of info to the "baldness", and "testosterone" discussion:



"Saw Palmetto also prevents testosterone from converting into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which
causes prostate cells to multiply, and also leads to male balding."

I use it daily, and have a full, thick head of hair, and it cured my BPH. Great stuff.

Take care,


Kerio Samepage

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